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Full text of "Sketch of Cree, an Algonquian Language, In: Handbook of North American Indians, Vol 17: Language"

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1. Introduction 

Cree is an Algonquian language spoken from the west 
coast of James Bay to the foot (tf the Rocky Mountains, 
including the boreal forestjregfons of northern Ontario 
and Manitoba as well as the prairies of Saskatchewan 
and Alberta. Cree speakers are estimated to number 
between 60,000 and 70,000 (Canada. Indian Affairs 
Branch 1970); of these, approximately 26,000 use the 
Plains Cree dialect. 

In the absence of detailed dialect studies, a working 
390 classification of Cree dialects based on the varying 


reflexes of Proto-Algonquian */ has found general 
acceptance, along with such crude labels as Plains 
Cree, Swampy Cree, Woods Cree, and Moose Cree 
(Lacombe 1874:xv; Michelson 1939; Wolfart 1973, 
1992:356-359; for the controversial question of the 
eastern delimitation of Cree proper cf. Pentland 1978; 
and MacKenzie 1980). The major varieties of Cree 
could be considered either highly divergent dialects 
(vol. 6:52-53) or closely similar languages showing 
considerable mutual intelligibility ("Introduction," 
table 3, this vol.). 


Wolfart, H. C. 1996. Sketch of Cree, an Algonquian Language. 
In: Goddard, Ives (ed.) Handbook of North American Indians 
Vol 17: Languages. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.